Tiger Tea Kindness
"Tiger Tea” is an event management company that specializes in Health & Safety advice to organisers of outdoor events. In the past 15 years, Tiger Tea has gained some of the country’s most respected festivals amongst its clients. Over the years Tiger Tea became aware of the need for music festivals and outdoor events to provide support for on-site child welfare beyond provision of a “lost child” tent. We discovered that many young (and not so young!) persons on music festival sites found themselves overwhelmed by the festival experience or in situations where they have over indulged in ways that leave them vulnerable, but not necessarily in need of medical attention. In 2011 “TTK” was launched to provide such support.
WHAT IS “WELFARE” AT A FESTIVAL?
To put it simply, festival welfare provides help and support to attendees who find themselves in distress and needing a safe secure place to turn to. We provide a safe haven. It may be as simple as helping someone who has lost their phone and needs to call home in an emergency or someone who needs a confidential chat. During very wet weather, we can provide dry clothing or event shelter to those who get drenched. The list of help we offer is a long one and each year we discover more we can do to help.
In more complex situations, it may mean someone who has found themselves overcome by an alcohol or drug experience needing a safe place to feel protected and non-judged while they recover. These people do not need to take up valuable time with the medics if they are not “ill” but merely confused or needing to rest in a quiet place.
An event organiser is responsible for the safety of all children & youth on site, especially if the parent is not available to provide help and protection of that young person. TTK Welfare can help with any issues on site that involve children and youth under 18 years old as well as support to adults.
YOUR WORK WITH TTK WELFARE: THE NITTY GRITTY
The welfare station at an event is open all hours the public are on site. In fact the later it gets, the busier we are in Welfare. You will be assigned a shift per day of the festival, with that shift lasting approximately 8 hours, though if we are really stretched, we may ask you to volunteer a few hours extra. If you work one of the “graveyard shifts “ late at night into the morning , we will make sure that you do not get an early morning shift the next day. So time to work, time to rest but also time to see the sights of the festival.
The Welfare unit is usually housed in a marquee/tent that we can divide into smaller “rooms”, so that there is a quiet private area where young children can be kept safe and another private quiet area where some people may need to “sleep off” the effect of drugs or alcohol. The reception area is where people can come in, sit, talk, and generally hang about in a safe, friendly environment. On good days, we take our lounge chairs out front and watch the festival go by.
There will be power and lights in the tent – so you can keep you mobile charged. There will be a kettle so that we can supply hot drinks for ourselves and for guests. We ask that the organisers give us a heater because damp nights in the countryside are often quite chilly.
We ask organisers to position the Welfare station close to the medical tent (first aid) so that should someone be quite “out-of-it or ill”, we can get them to the medics right away. In return the medics find it helpful to hand over to us those people who they have seen and just need to be minded while they sleep it off.
Food, Accommodation, Travel - You will be given two crew meal tickets per shift. Sometimes this will be crew meals provided by the festival, sometimes it will be crew meals we make in the Welfare unit. We also have a small fridge and (sometimes) a microwave in the welfare tent so you may bring your own food if you wish. Hot drinks and healthy snacks are available to all staff at all hours.
If it is a weekend event with camping, you will need to arrange your own accommodation. You will be allowed to camp (tent or live-in vehicle) in the crew areas with access to crew toilets and crew showers
One small perk is that the Welfare station has it’s own portable loo assigned just for our use. Sometimes we have to help a sick or disoriented person to the toilet area, so organisers provide a disabled toilet behind our station. We make sure it stays clean and tidy for us all.
If you are on a short budget, you will be reimbursed travel expenses. If you drive, we will gage the miles you may drive to get to/from the festival and pay accordingly. If you are without a car, talk to us about travel and we’ll see if we can advise. You may be able to lift-share with another. Many festivals have shuttle buses from train stations or from nearby towns or cities. We will reimburse the costs.
The list of things we do to support people is as long as your arm. Mainly, you’ll be asked to be friendly and welcoming. You will talk to people, some of who are quite distressed about one thing or another. You will listen and offer what support is appropriate. There will be a team of experienced welfare people with you to advise if you’re not sure what to do.
You will also be asked to do a bit of admin. We keep very careful records of the people we see; date, time, gender, age and briefly how we have helped them. These statistics help us and the festival organisers better understand the nature of the audience and their needs at particular festivals
Some of the situations that cause people to seek Welfare can be distressing. We have had drunken/drugged parents abandoning small children. We have had to comfort and support persons who have been abused sexually or physically. We have had people on drugs who suddenly pass out or go into a seizure. We have had people who urinate themselves or get sick. We see people who have mental health issues and may be off their medication. These are not pleasant things to deal with but at least we have the ability to support these people, with help from the medical crew, security crew or event organising team if need be.
If you feel you would be particularly squeamish about any of these things, let your TTK Manager know. We can place you in a position where you are less likely to deal with situations you find uncomfortable. We all need to muck in and help and we need to learn your strengths and weaknesses so that you can best offer support.
That’s at the worst end of the scale. At its best, the Welfare tent is lively and interacts with the many, many people who pass by or stop in. We have a laugh, we get people to participate in the daft games we invent on the spot and we share our Haribo with them. We have a growing list of “thank you” cards and letters that people drop off at our tent after we have helped them and that really is a good feeling.
WHAT WE ARE AND AREN’T: TERMS AND CONDITIONS
1. TTK is not a free ticket to a festival. Though we hope you get a chance to see some of the event and we’ll try to accommodate if there is a particular act you want to see, it isn’t always possible. You are working within a festival setting; you are not attending one.
2. We don’t want to see you just “pick and choose” the festivals you want to attend. Some of our events are very popular festivals and EVERYone wants to work there. Others less so, but need welfare support just the same. You may have to work with TTK a few times before you get to request particular special events. We look favourably at those who are willing to take on anything.
3. As you will be on a job, we would expect you to remain sober and clean, just as you would in any job situation. You can have a drink during your own personal time, but you can not show up for your shift drunk or hung-over. To do so may mean dismissal and no further work with TTK.
4. As part of the Welfare Team, drugs usage at a festival where you are working is strictly forbidden whether you are on duty or not. I shouldn’t have to tell you why.
5. Ideally, you should arrive the day before the event opens to the public or at least in the morning before the gates open. Allow yourself time to arrive, set up your own tent and familiarise yourself with your manager, with the TTK team and with the festival site.
6. You will be given a Festival Brief before your arrival with information on gate opening times, festival rules and if possible, a site map marking the location of the welfare station. You will be told the name of your manager/supervisor for that event and given a contact number. We expect you to read this brief and ask questions before you get to site.
7. Be prepared for living outdoors for a weekend. Bring waterproofs for the rain, wellies for the mud, a warm fleece and hat for the cold nights, a comfortable sleeping bag with a ground mat etc. Wear your normal, festival clothes but be prepared to put on one of our TTK Hi Viz vests for times when you have to leave the tent for a TTK walk-about (something we do time to time).
8. As a team, we are non-judgemental. We pride ourselves on being even tempered and not judging anyone’s behaviour as “wrong” or “bad”. No matter how drunk or drugged a person may be when they come into our tent, or how “minor” you may think their problem is - they are a vulnerable human being in need of help. If the Manager feels you are treating anyone with disrespect, you may be asked to leave.
9. What is said or happens in the welfare unit, stays in the welfare unit. We may often swap tales with each other about what happened with some welfare visitors and at times have a laugh over silly antics. But the bottom line is that we show respect for every single person who walks through our door.
10. No kids. No pets. If you have children, it’s best to leave them with someone for the weekend. And as much as we all love dogs here at TTK HQ, a festival is not a place for them.
11. We accept applications for those aged 18+ only. Many of our events are for people age 18+ and we can not chance having minors as part of our team. If you are 16 or 17 you may only work if your parent is present. as part of the welfare team. No one at all under 16.
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